Cask Conditioned Beer

Cask conditioned may or may not be a term you are familiar with in the beer world. 

The process is very similar to the regular brewing process. Cask conditioned is really another way to package and serve beer. Here are a few of the main differences:

  • Instead of aging in a fermentor, the young beer is matured in a cask.
  • Beer matured in a cask produces unfiltered beer.
  • The matured beer is kept in the cask and ready to serve.

The process of dispensing the cask conditioned beer is the main difference. The cask beer is kept at cellar temperature (between 50 °F to 55 °F). The beer is served at cellar temperature making the beer less cold than regular dispensed beer (typically being in the mid-30’s °F). The beer is served directly from the cask. There is no use of carbon dioxide or other chemicals; the beer is hand-pumped out of the cask.

So what does this mean for the flavor of the beer? The beer is more delicately carbonated due to the pulling method. Cask beer is also unique because of the aging process. The cask tends to create a unique, bitter flavor. Any regular beers like stouts, IPA’s, and lagers can be aged in casks. The aging, temperature and pulling technique will change the flavor of a beer.

For example, if Flying Dog Brewery cask conditioned their In Wheat Heat Hefeweizen, it would taste very different from the normally brewed batch. 

Brewer’s Alley is a local restaurant/brewery that serves cask conditioned beer. They tend to take their own beers and cask condition them so costumers can taste the difference. The cask changes weekly. The brewery is constantly cask conditioning different beers. Stop by and see what’s on cask this week!

Downtown Frederick Happy Hour

Everyone loves a discount drink.  Downtown Frederick is no short of bars with ambiance, food and drinks. I have ventured downtown to hunt for the best happy hours Frederick has to offer.

Here is a list of popular bars downtown and their happy hour specials.

Bushwaller’s: For 30 years, Bushwaller’s has been Frederick’s most popular Irish pub. Serving traditional Irish and American comfort food, the pub serves for a great dining experience. Smuttynose Brown Ale, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and  Du Claw Snake Oil are a few beers available on draft. The food, music and booze makes for a very casual, relaxed atmosphere.

Happy Hour: Mon.-Fri. from 4p.m.-7p.m.

  • $3.50 rails
  • $1 off beer
  • Live music Wed.-Sun. (No cover Wed., Thurs., and Sun.)

Firestone’s: A culinary tavern with a balance of refined dining and an energetic nightlight. Since it’s opening in 1999, Firestone’s has established itself as a local and tourist favorite. Nick Lawrence has been bartending at Firestone’s for five months and comments on their happy hour during the week “It’s pretty relaxed, there’s enough going on during happy hour that it’s not boring in here.” Some beers on draft include Uinta Hop Notch, Devils Back Bone, and Flying Dog’s Dogtoberfest.

Happy Hour: Tues.-Fri. 4 p.m.-7p.m.

  • $1 off wine
  • $1 off draft beers
  • $2.50 domestic bottles
  • $2.50 rail
  • Live music Thursday and Sunday nights (No cover)

Cafe Nola: Nola is Frederick’s hippest bar downtown. Full of local art, music and their own infused cocktails; it is a hipster magnet. Nola is a great spot for brunch/lunch serving american cuisine, vegan/vegetarian options, and Illy coffee during the day. One of Nola’s main attractions during happy hour is their outside seating on Patrick St.

Kayleigh Montgomery, a server/bartender at Nola, comments on their infused liquors, “It’s a group effort, usually the bar manager comes up with the ideas. If another employee has a good idea, we’ll use that too”. Honey whiskey, tomato basil vodka, cucumber mint rose gin and espresso infused vodka are some of their most popular infusions. Beer on draft includes Breckenridge’s Agave Wheat , and Evolution craft’s Lucky 7 porter.

Happy Hour: Wed.-Mon. 4 p.m.- 7 p.m.

  • Half off infused cocktails
  • Live Music Thurs.-Sat.

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Drinker

The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the boots are coming out, this can only mean one thing- IT’S FINALLY FALL! The best season with the best drinks. Bring on the pumpkin beer!

Maryland has a wide selection of breweries releasing their pumpkin beer around this time. Here is a list of some smashing pumpkin ales.

Pub Dog’s Monster Mash: Pub Dog started in 2005 as a pizza and draft house in Baltimore. They have since expanded, opening a brewery in Westmister, MD. This brew is a pumpkin/yam style. The label reads 6.66% ABV, those clever dogs! Sounds like a graveyard smash to me.

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Flying Dog’s The Fear: Flying Dog originated in Colorado and relocated to Frederick, MD in 1994. Donned with crazy original Ralph Steadman art, this label is eye catching. This is an imperial pumpkin ale. This beer’s ingredients make it sound more like pumpkin pie; It is brewed with local pumpkin puree and a secret blend of spices. Racking up 9.0% ABV, this beer is not for the fearful.

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Heavy Sea’s Great’er Pumpkin Ale: A brewery out of Baltimore, MD dating back to 1995. Heavy sea’s is a very popular baltimore brewery with a popular pumpkin beer. The Great’er is a bourbon barrel-aged pumpkin ale. Barrel-aging the beer add oaky, vanilla notes making this beer full of flavor. A strong flavored and very alcoholic beer (10.0% ABV!).

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There you have it, some of the finest pumpkin beers around town.